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She watched her boss from the door of the tack room as he put his gear away, her eyes devouring his wide, strong back, concealed from her hungry gaze by a faded blue western-yoke shirt. Her gaze drifted lower and lingered on his tight buttocks, appreciating this secret view of him while he worked. He moved with incredible agility for such a big man, and his long cowboy legs never hindered his grace. He took her very breath away, and one of these days, he was going to open his eyes and see her as a woman for the very first time. Her palms grew moist just thinking about it.
"You gonna stand there all day and gawk?" his voice shot through the silence, startling her upright and away from the doorjamb. "Or are you going to get your pretty ass in here and give me a hand?"
"I didn't think you ever needed a hand with anything, Connor." She teased him to conceal her own embarrassment at being caught staring. Unable to stop herself though, she moved into the tack room and sidled around his big body, a small smile on her lips. She sat down on the narrow cot, a necessity used by any number of the people on Hawkins' Ranch staff when foaling season was in full force. She leaned back on her hands and turned her face up to Connor's. "You don't really want my help, anyway. You always want to do everything on your own."
Connor's dark gaze flashed with black fire. "Normally, I don't, but maybe I need to make an exception with you, Cassandra. If I put you to work every time I catch you spying on me, you might be less inclined to do it so often."
Cassie felt her cheeks flood with heat as Connor's little comment hit too close to home. Her gaze did have a terrible tendency to followConnor whenever he was nearby. Her core usually started pulsing low and deep between her legs whenever he was around. When he called her Cassandra, her heart skittered wildly in her chest. He was the only one who ever did it.
"What's the matter, sweet girl?" Connor crossed to the wall across the small room and hung a leading leash on a curved hook embedded into the wall. He glanced back at her from over his shoulder. "Cat suddenly got your tongue?"
"N-no." Cassie swallowed convulsively as the heat in the back of the stable suddenly became thick and suffocating. Beneath the pungent, rich smells of horses and hay that permeated the stable, the air suddenly shifted to heavy with sex. Her eyes widened as she recognized it. She got trapped up in Connor's gaze as he moved like a predator back across the room toward her. "I just finished riding fence with Hank and Cain and was elected to let you know we were finished, that's all."
"Really?" Connor kneeled down in front of her and got right up in her space. Far closer than he'd ever been in their lives. His gaze flickered down to her breasts, lingered there for a scrutinizing, long moment, and then came back up to her eyes. "Because I think your heart is beating awful fast for someone who searched me out just to share a little bit of everyday information like that."
"Oh?" She gulped again.
A hint of a smile tweaked Connor's hard lips, and it was downright troublemaking. "Oh yeah," he answered, his voice almost a licking touch across her flesh.
Before Cassie could contemplate what that look could possibly mean, Connor nudged her legs apart and slid in between them on his knees. He wrapped one hand around her thigh and caressed her through her jeans, making her heart race even harder. She knew it was a damn good thing she was sitting down when his other hand slid up her stomach and covered her breast, his long, strangely elegant fingers spread wide apart. He let his hand rest there, just feeling her heart pounding, and Cassie flooded against her panties.
Then he slid his fingers closed and rubbed her nipple through her shirt.
Cassie's legs automatically slammed shut against Connor's hips. "What are you doing?" She gasped as he flicked over her sensitive flesh again. Her nipple immediately hardened under her shirt to a painful, poking point.
"I'm doing what you came here wanting, baby." Connor's gaze found hers as he slid her first button free of its hold. "I'm gonna take that innocence you're so eager to be rid of, and when I'm done in here, I'm gonna carry you to each and every stall in this barn and take you again." He flicked open the front clasp of her bra and pushed the white fabric aside, baring her small breasts. They both watched, rapt, as her nipples twisted into tight little nubs, just with Connor looking at her. He growled and looked back up at her. "Christ, you want it just as much as I do, don't you?"
"Yes." Cassie barely got the word out before Connor's lips crushed down on hers in a fierce kiss, one of possession and claiming, one in which Cassie reveled.
For five long years, she had waited for this. She cried out as she clung to Connor, her barely-there fingernails digging into his back through his shirt. The second she opened her mouth, Connor swept his tongue inside and tangled with hers, dragging her into a deep, carnal kiss that had no beginning or end, only varying degrees of raw heat. Cassie held on as Connor gave her a crash course in kissing. She learned quickly and delved into the wet cavern of his mouth with her tongue too, sucking as he'd done to her. He jerked against her and grabbed her tight, fusing their torsos together as close as two people can get, and she creamed even more.
Connor suddenly tore his mouth away, his breathing erratic and heavy as he slid his dark gaze along her length.
"I have to see the rest, baby," he said, his voice husky like fine, aged whiskey. He didn't stop to regroup; he just lifted her leg and started tugging off her red cowboy boots. Boots he'd given her as a birthday present two years ago. She wore them every day.
He pulled off her socks and lifted her foot to his mouth to kiss the arch. It tickled, and she pulled away. He let her go with another one of those troublesome secret smiles on his face. "Before this night is over, I'm gonna learn every damn inch of you, Cassandra." He snagged her by the belt and tugged her right to the edge of the cot. "And most places are gonna be a damn sight more intimate and sensitive than your foot." Connor made quick work of her belt, and in seconds had her zipper down, too.